Lying low in the grass until the chance to strike like a viper, has Tony Vlachos harnessed and perfected his chaos en route to winning Survivor: Winners at War?
Most people who played in Survivor: Winners at War team drafts based solely on picking the winners would rarely choose Tony Vlachos as a first, second, third, or maybe even a fourth choice. The king of chaos controlled the game from top to bottom in his winning season of Cagayan but imploded almost upon contact in Game Changers.
An entirely different approach got him to the finale night on his third time out. Can he secure a second win and make Cops-R-Us the most prolific duo in Survivor history?
Chances of making Final Tribal Council
In my mind, there is about a 75% chance for Tony to make it to the final stage, and it’s the multiple layers of dynamic relationships that get him there. Has 100% trust from, and with, Sarah, Ben would likely target Michele or the Edge returnee over him, and Denise seems to be a target of Cops-R-Us.
When you have players like Michele, a player actively on the bottom, telling Sarah that she can’t win the game without Tony and Sarah spills that information to everyone else, only for all but Denise to laugh it off, it illustrates just how comfortable of a position he is in. Nobody can sway a majority to go after him, nor would he have people go to rocks to tie against him 3-3. He also has a Hidden Immunity Idol that will save him at Final Five.
I only believe he would actively get targeted at the Final Four, and even then, that’s at least a 50/50 chance at making fire over anyone else. He has illustrated an understanding of how to make a fire and will have the time to prepare himself for the best chance possible to advance to the end.
Chances of receiving votes at Final Tribal Council
Not only will Tony Vlachos receive votes at the Final Tribal Council, I think he will have the majority of them. There will be an unprecedentedly huge jury on Day 39 in Survivor: Winners at War, presuming nobody else quits or is medically evacuated. Though he’s had few encounters with some of the more legendary players voted out in the pre-merge, he’s got the Robfather impressed!
Here’s the thing about Tony Vlachos making it to the end of the game; there’s nobody else with a more enigmatic game than him. He’s engaged others well, willing to work with the big threats, and tie them to him as a means to keep him safe. He played others who engaged in those same protocols, including Ben Driebergen, appealing to the egos while also keeping them as equals in mind.
However much you think Tony hadn’t really played the game until the Final Nine, you really need to pay attention to his opening thoughts. He talked about how everyone had their guards up around him, and until he arrived at the merge, he was doing his best to lay low. He helped lower those guards with moments like the ladder climb and singing “Baby Shark” as a viable strategy to downplay his threat level.
It’s when he lowered the guards of others that he fired the first salvo, and he did so in a way that didn’t undermine the intelligence of others nor demean their character. He did blindside players like Sophie and Kim while betraying the likes of Sarah, but I believe that in a season with champions fighting champions, the jury will want to reward someone who could create masterful 4-3-2 moves, manipulate others, hold their own in Immunity Challenges, and play a flashy game.
The only way I can see Tony losing if he makes it to the Final Tribal Councils is if the Edge of Extinction player did something completely above and beyond what Chris Underwood did while Tony also becomes a lot more confrontational like he did in Cagayan. All-Star seasons of Survivor with a host of returning players tend to have juries of players whose egos are bruised by being outsmarted by those who orchestrated their ousters.
If that is the case for Winners at War, then it’s possible that the Edge of Extinction player, one who had time to bond over hardship with the majority of the jury, will earn more votes than Tony.
It’s been the Tony Vlachos Show for a few episodes, and with the big edgic threats eliminated, the red carpet has been rolled out for Tony to win Survivor: Winners at War. In fact, I’ve been calling it a coronation edit, as I believe his second win will be more than enough to crown him the king of Survivor to share the throne with the queen.